I have the great pleasure of taking British Literature I, Medieval through Restoration with an excellent teacher. I had her for BritLit II last winter and have looked forward to this class since that time. I get to spend the first six weeks wallowing in the roots of British literature, and Arthurian Legend. Our first reading was The Dream of the Rood. A lovely poem teaching the crucifixion from the tree's point of view. Much can be derived from this short but deep work, author unknown. Next we tackle Beowulf.

There is a tab entitled "This Semester" in the Reference Library, seeded with the supplementary study material from our class. Additionally, there are many links in my YouTube playlists; including several excellent BBC series on British history which have not made it into the Video Lecture tab, yet. { https://www.youtube.com/hsintern see history playlist }
Please join us, even if you are not a student or perhaps are studying history this semester. The links in the library are not all filled; most notably the Angles, Jutes and Saxons, which I hope to seed today. Your reference links as always are welcome additions.

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Comment by Victoria Reed on September 11, 2009 at 9:38pm
Oh my! Kindred spirits we, I believe. I am mad as a wet cat at the monk who retold Beowulf, not as a literary artifact of history and culture but as an evangelical, teaching tool. Fie! I am pretty much the only one in class who cares that the artifact has been ruined, even as a believer. I notice I am starting to think like an anthropologist and take solace in that.

We are spending some time with Chaucer but leaving Shakespeare to the instructor who teaches a class focused on the Bard. We will give passing nod to the Sonnets, however.

Now you make me wish this were an interdisciplinary class. Credit where credit is due; Prof as assigned the creation of a personal shield/device as part of our larger studies of the chivalric codes therefore; I finally get to do something I have been waiting to do for twenty years! Decisions, decisions . . . what to do, what to do; choose the Robertson tartan, the Shepherd, or "The Pride of Scotland" for my mantle?
Comment by Keith Hart on September 5, 2009 at 11:05pm
Thanks for drawing our attention to all this rich material, Vickie. I was once employed by the American School in Paris to advise on redesigning the humanities syllabus. We came up with three periods, ancient middle and modern, each with history and literature threads. No-one was available to teach early modern literature to the 9th grade, so I volunteered. We did Chaucer, Dante, Shakespeare's sonnets and plays, some others. I thought I was doing quite well explaining the birth of humanism, romance, the individual.

Then we got to the piece de resistance, Romeo and Juliet. The kids wanted to see the Baz Luhrmann, set in contemporary LA with Leonardo di Caprio, but the other teachers said they could watch the Zeffirelli, not that one. I caved in, but exacted a promise that we would have a serious discussion after. I opened it up with, 'What do you think Shakespeare's message is in this play?' (expecting something along the lines of romantic individualism is OK, but it doesn't work in a society built around tribal warfare). A hand shot up at the back, a girl: 'True love conquers all!' 'True love conquers all?', I almost yelled, 'But they both end up dead!' 'Yes', she said, 'so they can live happily ever after together in heaven.' Suddenly I realized that I had missed the point. They were Christians! I asked, 'Hands up all of you who believe in an afterlife.' All the Americans put their hands up. All the Asians and Arabs kept theirs down. I resigned the next week.


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